So Proud

Jana Lyn Williams, RN, BSN, my fiancee, and one hell of a woman.

She is graduated as a registered nurse, and has finished her second full week of work at OSF Hospital. I am amazed at the strength and courage she has to deal with the hectic and nerve racking pace a hospital presents people with. I look forward to listening and learning from her stories for years to come.

The past month has been full of some cool happenings in my life. I have enjoyed my weekends, while completing my 2nd full month of work.

I saw my first professional soccer match, Wayne Rooney and Manchester United taking on Chicago Fire, at Soldier Field, in Chicago, IL.

I was rooting hard for the Fire, but mainly went to see Wayne Rooney, Nani, and Evra. ManU took the match 3-1.

Oh yeah, and I caught a missed shot on goal during the 39th minute of play. Pretty epic, should have been a keeper.

Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

I took my first trip out to Oak Run with Jordan Meiss, the Meiss Family (Chloe, Dave, and Deborah), and Michael Miller. We boated, tubed, swam, fished, ate, drank, and held some great conversation. I shared a bottle of wine with Mrs. Meiss (I handled most of it), while Jordan, Michael, and Dave took on the Diesel (pictured below). This all took a back seat to the breaking down of a jet ski and Miller swimming us hundreds of yards out to visibility to get rescued.

Thank you God for all the blessings you have allowed in my life.

Gotta Go

My running shoes; time to get them warmed up for the summer.

“Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”

It has been so very hot outside the last few days. I was fortunate enough to hit up a 4 mile run yesterday and almost passed out because of the heat and my lack of physical activity the past few months. It felt great. It had been several months since I last ran; seemed like a perfect day to break out and start again. I enjoy destination running. I picked out a place and had no idea how far it was. Turns out it was much longer than my original prediction. I was able to keep going because I knew where I was going. I had this goal in mind, this destination. I paced myself to the point where I was absolutely giving it everything I had, yet still achieved that goal.

The idea of pushing yourself through a tough run is symbolic of so many things in my life. It relates highly to all facets of life and the challenges each of us will face at some point or another. I figure I am just practicing for those moments.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
— Confucius

I believe we learn and grow from the difficult things we go through. Challenging oneself in any form allows you to grow, mature, and experience some incredible  stuff. It makes you stronger.

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.
Try to be better than yourself.
–William Faulkner

Push yourself! Do something that is hard. A challenge makes you stronger and helps you accomplish great things. Without a challenge you are but lukewarm. This idea can be utilized in so many applications, it is hard to ignore. The first that comes to mind is using it in our Faith.

I read an article by George Konig

He is addressing the people of a city known for its wealth. But despite its financial prosperity, it was spiritually impoverished. He says in regards to the people: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17 NIV translation).

What’s frightening about this statement is that most people in this world who call themselves Christians are lukewarm. Yes we might go to church on Sundays, make an appearance, and think to ourselves, hey, I don’t sell drugs, I haven’t killed anybody, I never robbed a bank, I even give to charities. But think what Christ is saying here “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.”

http://www.konig.org/wc2.htm

Getting Ready

Jana and I have had quite the dating experience and soon we’ll begin an entirely new phase in our lives together. 5 years, 2 months, and 16 days ago we began dating and since that time we have both joked that it was going to be forever. Jana always said that she was scared to begin dating me because I would be her last boyfriend. It turns out that she was right on with that statement. Married life will be quite strange and it will absolutely be a challenge, but I know that we can “do work” together.

Now don’t call me conceited or anything but we are two outstanding individuals. We both have God-given talent and gifts that make us who we are, and I feel that once we put those together it is going to be one heck of a duo. Tony and Jana: it is going to be like Jordan and Pippen, of course Jana is Pippen because he was her favorite NBA player of all time.

Anyways, I think that together we will grow and be successful in anything we set out to accomplish. As long as we trust in God and one another I am confident in us. Our journey has been a blast, and I can not wait to marry her. She is my best friend and the woman of my dreams. I am a lucky man. 5 years, 6 months, and 5 days of dating is deserving of an awesome party (aka wedding at Coyote Creek in Bartonville, IL) and a well deserved vacation (aka honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico). Look out September 17th, here we come!

Graduation

Wow, I can not believe four years went by that quickly. It feels like a couple months ago I was unloading the car in Koin’s parking lot and meeting my first college roommate, Jarrod Cook. As mom and dad were pulling out of the parking lot, I knew mom didn’t say goodbye because she would start to cry. Now, I am heading back home and taking a job 5 minutes from my house. I will be getting married in September. Aren’t I too young and immature for all of this stuff. I am now beginning to realize that every day adults can feel as though they are not ready for the tasks they have been given. I used to think that mom, dad, and every other adult, always knew exactly what they were doing. I am now walking onto the stage of adulthood and seeing the uncertainty ahead of me. The only thing that keeps me from freaking out is the realization that I am confident in who I am and my potential. I know I can learn. I know I can figure things out as I go; I am intelligent and adaptive enough to make things work. I also have people surrounding me who love me and care for me; they will not let me fail. I am officially a graduate of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I posted my highest GPA ever this past semester. I worked very hard in my industry sponsored senior design course; it honestly felt like a part-time job while we were putting in 20 hours of work a week. I feel as though I have learned so much in my time at University. I also know that I have so much more to learn, and I look forward to that.

I made it, with help, of course

Some of the things I will miss most about college:

  • Koinonia was such a great brotherhood.
  • The Transportation Building was the best building on campus.
  • Opportunities to serve others.
  • Diversity of people.
  • Roommates.
  • Late Nights
  • College student mentality.
  • Sleeping in and skipping classes.
  • Breaks during the day with nothing to do.
  • Exploring and finding new things on campus.
  • Free printing and computer labs stocked with software.
  • Learning about cool stuff in the College of Engineering.
  • The Arc, for free
  • Legends
  • Really, extremely, cheap food